Friday, October 05, 2007

Goat Friday

Oh well, this was the nearest thing I could find to the ‘Goat of Many Colours’ I was looking for. Rather cute, I thought.

But of equal interest may be the following anecdotal example of Classic Goatery, which may serve as a timely illustration of the destructive aspect of blogging — at least, in what c. 1845 was the contemporary analog of the ‘blogosphere’.

Cue Edwards & Pap:

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was born in Copenhagen where he spent almost the whole of his life. Søren was the seventh and youngest child, born when his father was 56 and his mother 45. He was born with a hunched back and uneven legs. He was also exceptionally frail.

“I was already an old man when I was born,” Kierkegaard wrote in his Journals, “delicate, slender and weak, deprived of almost every condition for holding my own with other boys, or even for passing as a complete human being in comparison with others.”


In 1845 Kierkegaard became embroiled in a painful controversy with the popular Copenhagen satirical paper, Corsaren (“The Corsair”). This paper mercilessly ridiculed public figures of every variety. Kierkegaard had been a notable exception since Meyer Goldschmidt, the editor, was a warm admirer of Kierkegaard’s books.

Kierkegaard on one occasion denounced the low moral standards of the paper and challenged Goldschmidt to extend Corsaren’s scurrilous treatment to himself. Goldschmidt reluctantly accepted the challenge.

Week after week, for an entire year, Kierkegaard’s twisted back, his awkward gait and his uneven trouser legs were caricatured. Students at the University produced a skit with a ridiculous hero called Søren Kirk. Children taunted him in the street. The very name Søren became an abusive epithet and parents would admonish their children, “Don’t be a Søren!”

Kierkegaard referred to his tormentors as “geese,” but this did not make the experience less painful. “To let oneself be trampled by geese,” he wrote in his Journals, “is a slow way of dying.”

Goldschmidt, it should be added, was so shaken by the episode that he closed down his paper.

EDWARDS; Paul & PAP; Arthur. A Modern Introduction to Philosophy: Readings from Classical and Contemporary Sources. Third Edition: The Free Press, New York, 1973. “Biographical Notes: Søren Aabye Kierkegaard,” pp. 827-9.


Anonymous Kathy said...

I absolutely adore that goat Jarcob!
You have certainly hit the jackpot here.

He's my kind of goat. A real fun goat I reckon.That devil-may-care glint in his eyes!

Clicking his heels and floating on air.(that'll be me tonight after a few bot, err, glasses of chardonnay.)

Yes, great pic Jarcob!

5/10/07 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Father Park said...

That's me most days....

5/10/07 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Mmmm... 'Tis a pity you don't live closer then, Bertie.
You're my kind of goat!

5/10/07 9:34 AM  
Blogger Caz said...

You carry balloons and float in the sky Father Park?

Wow, you never said.

6/10/07 12:51 PM  

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